Social Media Mishaps

A majority of companies now use social media for marketing and promotion, but what most fail to realize is its power as a communication tool. Social media posts should not be treated like a magazine ad; it’s an open forum for conversation and one where a company should be engaged with its customers.  Two well known companies we follow in our office recently failed the communication test.

 Martha Stewart’s Facebook page published a post yesterday with an error that was more than noticeable to her followers. In less than three hours, there were over 900 comments, many of which were highlighting the fact that “Martha” was not commenting on the typo or editing the post to correct it. The post was finally removed this morning, but not before I took a screen shot.

 Pottery Barn posted an untimely ad this morning about popping the bubbly tonight. Followers were quick to point out that they will be celebrating New Year’s Eve tomorrow night with the rest of the world. Again, Pottery Barn had not edited the post or commented, despite hundreds of comments from their followers.

 In both cases, it shows customers are engaged with companies on social media.  If a company chooses to use social media, they need to be prepared to be engaged and responsive to their followers. In the examples we’ve highlighted, it could have eliminated embarrassment on the front end.  But in other cases, listening to customers talk about specific service problems or having broader conversations about products and services enables companies to learn from their customers and identify areas to improve. This is where we feel the real benefit of social media comes into play.

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